Australian A Class Nationals

SimonN

Super Anarchist
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Sydney ex London
The Australian A Class Nationals begin on Lake Cootharaba in Queensland on 2nd January. About 60 boats are expected but what makes these championships particularly interesting is the talent coming out to play, a mix of the existing A Class sailors, the new A Class sailors from the world of the America's Cup and the world class cat sailors who are looking for AC jobs. Here are some of the runners and riders.

For the last 10 years, almost every major A Class event has been a battle between 2 people, Glenn Ashby and Stevie Brewin. Stevie is the only person who has been able to live with Glenn on a consistant basis, although Glenn holds the upper hand by quiet some way. The other thing that makes the battle interesting is that they are both sailmakers who seem to use different design philosophies in their sails. Of late, many would say that Stevie's sails might be a bit quicker but Glenn continues to make up for that with his skill and experience. Having said that, this will be the first time that we will see the 2 different rigs since the worlds and I expect that both have come on a bit (I know Stevie's has). Both will be sailing on DNA's and it will be interesting to see if either have found a small edge in set up of foils and race preparation.

I believe that the biggest challenge to these 2 will come from other world class cat sailors hoping to show off their talent. Top of this list must be Darren Bundock who has been training hard with the "NSW Posse". At the last hit out, Darren might have even found an edge upwind on Stevie but Stevie was superior downhill where his experience counted. Darren is using the same rig as Stevie. I personally think if anybody is going to break the stranglehold the "Big 2" have, it will be Darren.

Then there is Mitch Booth, who, besides his vast cat experience, is also a past A Clas World Champion, even if it was some time ago. I don't know who he has been training with or any details of his rig, so cannot really comment on his potential. Also in this group is the British Olympian, Will Howden who is better known as a crew. He has been training with Glenn and early reports were of him being off the pace. However, who knows how he is now going some weeks later.

Then you have the battle of the AC helms, represented at the very least by James Spithill and Dean Barker. Of course, this battle should be won by James, who has been sailing A's for some time. The real issue is just how far up the fleet he can finish. I am not sure how much training he has done but for me, it is hard to believe that he will be a contender for the big prize. Dean is another matter. He is on a learning mission and I am sure has little real ambition other than that.

Then, of course, you have the established A Class sailors. Of these, Landy is probably the man to watch. It seems he is always there or there abouts, but has he really upped his game enough to challenge the big 2? He has often been "the best of the rest" but can he bridge the gap? There are also a whole host of sailors who have been trying to bridge the gap in recent years and names to watch out for include Collett, Parker and Brewer. It will be interesting to see how Jack "The Punchman" Benson goes after his impressive 3rd in the worlds, although the suspicion is that he won't have his favoured light winds to help him.

I am sure I have left a whole heap of names out of the mix and for that I am sorry. In some cases it is because I don't think they are in the mix but in others, it is simply becasue I don't know enough so please don't beat me up for missing your favorate runner.

As to who will win, my heart says Stevie (as I train with him) but my brain says that Glenn is favorite. I think these 2 will have just too much experience for everybody else. The dark horse is Darren, but I suspect he will be fighting for 3rd with Landy and maybe a couple of others.

As for myself, I would love to report that I am a real threat, but it isn't true. I am only just reaching the point of getting my head out of the boat and need to spend far too much time concentrating on driving. In addition, I will almost certainly be heading to the racecourse with a boat set up that really isn't proven. I have learnt what doesn't work so I hope I am close to what does. If I am lucky, the training I have done with the NSW Posse will mean I do better than I think, but I am expecting my worst championship result for many a year. I wonder if a target in the top 20 is expecting too much...........

 

AClass USA 230

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Simon,

Thanks for getting this thread started. It would be fantastic if we could get an idea of what equipment the top 10 during the event are using. Specifically, it would be great to know the following for each of these sailors:

Platform

Daggerboards (straight or curved, canted or non-canted)

Mast

Sail

I really hope the event gets a good mix of conditions but it's kind of a shame that the two favorites are both sailing DNA's. I was kind of hoping that Glenn would have used the same ASG3 he won the WC with (which I think Mitch is sailing) but I would guess that DNA made it worth his (and Steve's) time to be on DNA's.

Our first winter circuit event starts Jan 11 and I look forward to sailing the modified ASG3 (nicknamed Re-Boot)and testing the boat against sailors like Ben Hall, Matt Struble (current NAC), and Randy Smyth (10th at WC). However Randy is going to try a radical new rig (I'll post pics) that (trust me) will be interesting to see.

Good luck!

 

SimonN

Super Anarchist
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753
Sydney ex London
As for equipment, it wouldn't suprise me to see all the top 10 on the same platform as there are 18 DNA's in the country and most of the top guys have them. If it is light, maybe the likes of Chris Cairns will sneak a good result with his Tool andstraight boards or Jack on his Flyer 1 with straight boards.

I find it hard to see anybody with straight boards right up there. I think Stevie proved that a DNA with curved boards is competitive enough in light winds and once there is some wind, they are seriously quick.

As fo DNA making it worth Glenn's while, I was told he went after them for a boat. Maybe there was a deal because of who he is, but they certainly didn't chase him. It will be interesting to see how Mitch does but everybody I have spoken to thinks Glenn would have been in deep poo ifthere had been 10 knots + at the worlds. Sure, part was his sail but the downwind speed of the DNA's is something to behold.

Sop, my prediction is that the DNA platform will dominate. Therefore, curved boards will dominate and, in particular, DNA curved boards although I expect to see a few will have changed their rudders.

This leaves rigs. This will be far harder to draw conclusions from because it is hard to quantify what is helm and what is rig. I expect that Glenn's training team will have Fiberfoam and Ashby while Stevie and Darren will be Saaberg and Brewin. I expect there might be a few who mix that combo, in particular Fiberfoam and Brewin.

Of course, there will be a few Landy sails. I have mainly seen these on Saaberg's of late and think that is what Landy is sailing with. Howver, Scott at Fiberfoam has just brought out a new mast aimed at exactly the style of mast Saaberg produces, soft fore and aft but stiff sideways.

At this point in time, my "dream" boat (which I cannot afford) would be a DNA with their boards, Thorpe Rudders (a new one being made in Sydney), Brewin sail and I am not sure about mast. At the moment, probably the Saaberg but I want to see the new Fiberfoam and how they compare. I would also want a brain from either Glenn, Stevie or Bundy and the body of a far younger man. Even then, I suspect I would blow it. :D

Of course, I will get back with the real results and fast gear table in due course.

 

SimonN

Super Anarchist
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Sydney ex London
Why is Glen using a DNA and not his own ASG3? If true, pretty much means the ASG3 is crap?
That is really unfair.

First, it is true Glenn has a DNA. The DNA seems to have outclassed everything that has come before it. The ASG3 was before the DNA. It has outclassed it.

And yes, there were a few issues that the ASG3 had which Glenn addressed on his boat for the last worlds (which he won) and others are trying different approaches. However, what one needs to realise is that the DNA follows a very different hull design philosophy, despite them saying that it is a deveopment of the Flyer. It has a lot more volume and in particular, it has a Jey-lo (pretty fat arse!). They seem to have got the best combination of hull shape and curved foil at the moment. On top of that the DNA is probably the highest spec, best built boat other than a Marstrom. IMO, they are built a lot better than any of the Flyers, ASG3, Tools etc because they are pre-preg, nomex carbon. You cannot get as good by wet layup.

Finally, Glenn had already stopped the production and sale of boats before he changed to the DNA. I think he stuck with the ASG3 long enough to find out how to solve the issues and from al that I have heard, he is being supportive to those who have them.

I therfore think your comment is pretty unfair. (did I say that already? :p )

 

daveszaero

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Thanks Simon I didn't realise ( I apologize) that Glen isn't still producing/selling the ASG3's, makes sense now. and by 'crap' I meant 'not going to win the worlds' crap, I'd still give left nut for one.

 

Sailingkid

Super Anarchist
I'm going to bring the mark 4 up to see how I go, but by the sounds of this form guide i'll be lucky to be on the same lap as the leaders. Look out for one of the only old school brown sails with orange stripes on it, mounted on the boat covered in stickers.

Are any other anarchists heading up besides SimonN?

 

demon936

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melbourne
im going up. and unfortunately from what i have seen my only real goal is to be one of the first none dnas. Glenn is very fast. will howden, stephen brayshaw, are also showing great potential on there dnas. but at this stage our first goal may just be getting to the lake with these flood waters.

 

remenich

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Switzerland
As for equipment, it wouldn't suprise me to see all the top 10 on the same platform as there are 18 DNA's in the country and most of the top guys have them. If it is light, maybe the likes of Chris Cairns will sneak a good result with his Tool andstraight boards or Jack on his Flyer 1 with straight boards.
Don't forget Landy ( Scheurer G6 "evo") and Brad (Scheurer G6).

 

SimonN

Super Anarchist
10,532
753
Sydney ex London
As for equipment, it wouldn't suprise me to see all the top 10 on the same platform as there are 18 DNA's in the country and most of the top guys have them. If it is light, maybe the likes of Chris Cairns will sneak a good result with his Tool andstraight boards or Jack on his Flyer 1 with straight boards.
Don't forget Landy ( Scheurer G6 "evo") and Brad (Scheurer G6).
Strange. Why aren't they sailing their DNA's? I didn't realise that Brad even brought his Scheurer back to Oz. I thought both brought DNA's back from Europe.

 

demon936

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melbourne
brads dad vic has the dna, brad seems to prefer the scheurer. i have not spoken to landy but i heard he is of the same opinion. but they both will be very fast

 

SimonN

Super Anarchist
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753
Sydney ex London
im going up. and unfortunately from what i have seen my only real goal is to be one of the first none dnas. Glenn is very fast. will howden, stephen brayshaw, are also showing great potential on there dnas. but at this stage our first goal may just be getting to the lake with these flood waters.
Out today with Glenn, Darren, Will, Mitch, Scott A, Mark J and some Frenchman from BMWO. Same tomorrow, plus Cairnsie and Stevie B. Wind was anywhere from 5 knots to 20, with most of it over 12 knots.

Darren fastest upwind. Glenn just stupid downhill. How the hell he doesn't crash every 250 metres I don't know! I think that both Darren and myself got scared trying to push that hard. Will swam and broke his mast.

Honest appraisal would be that the Saaberg/Brewin combo has a little something upwind. Glenn is simply in a different class from everybody else who was out today in terms of downhill. It wasn't a speed thing. It was simply skill. It will be interesting to see how Stevie goes tomorrow.

Myself, I had the best day sailing an A I have had so far. A Flyer 1 with DNA curved boards, a good rig and decent rudders will more than match the DNA's upwind. Downwind, there is no doubt that I am quicker than a straight board boat. At times, I thought I was close to the DNA's. However, my biggest issue is I am not good enough. Another year or two in the class and maybe, if the boat (or me!) doesn't fall apart first!

 
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demon936

Member
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melbourne
yes we have had no answer for glenn downwind however i have had no problems racing the others around the course. i have straight boards the only person that has really blown me away was glenn, but in saying that i have not sailed against the others you speak of this season.

 
Forecast is for 5-15 knots ESE and SE on Monday and Tuesday so competitors won't face too testing conditions in the early races.

Is anyone able to confirm whether Lake Cootharaba is currently in flood after all the recent rain which hit the Sunshine Coast?

 

SimonN

Super Anarchist
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753
Sydney ex London
A quick update now that Team Ashby is heading north from its brief stop to sail with the NSW posse.

The conditions have been such that it is hard to say for sure who has what edge. I still believe that the Saaberg/Brewin rig is a bit quicker upwind, although Bundy has been variable as he tried more and more things. For instance, batten choice has been big on the agenda and we have had enough variation in conditions for a lot of learning to be going on. Stevie hasn't really been out much and only really in fairly light stuff where he seemed really good upwind. However, when Bundy has had the right gear up, he seems to have been the quickest upwind.

Glenn continues to give a masterclass downhill, but I wonder if he is giving away more than he is learning! I do not think that anybody has a boatspeed advantage downwind, other than one gained from skill.

Does any of this change my view of who will be the key players? Not at all! I think Bundy is learning heaps every day but whether that really is enough to challenge the "Big 2", I am not sure.

In other news, I have heard is that all is OK up at the Lake and that the rumours of the chance of a cancelled event seem to have evaporated. I think the next time we will see frontrunners sailing against each other will be on New Years Eve. Then we should see how Landy, who I am now told is definately sailing his DNA, and Brad, who is sailing his Scheurer, stack up against Team Ashby.

 
Reports from the lake are that the water is clean despite huge rainfalls in the last week and the dozen cats already there are awaiting the arrival of interstate competitors. The NT contingent were delayed by inland floods but apparently made Toowoomba today and wll get lakeside later tomorrow. Lake Cootharaba is well above the high tide mark with not much of the beachfront near the clubhouse left but levels should go down now the rain has eased. Forecast is for more showers turning to rain next week so a grey/wetter than usual series is on the cards.

 

AClass USA 230

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Louisiana
A quick update now that Team Ashby is heading north from its brief stop to sail with the NSW posse.

The conditions have been such that it is hard to say for sure who has what edge. I still believe that the Saaberg/Brewin rig is a bit quicker upwind, although Bundy has been variable as he tried more and more things. For instance, batten choice has been big on the agenda and we have had enough variation in conditions for a lot of learning to be going on. Stevie hasn't really been out much and only really in fairly light stuff where he seemed really good upwind. However, when Bundy has had the right gear up, he seems to have been the quickest upwind.

Glenn continues to give a masterclass downhill, but I wonder if he is giving away more than he is learning! I do not think that anybody has a boatspeed advantage downwind, other than one gained from skill.

Does any of this change my view of who will be the key players? Not at all! I think Bundy is learning heaps every day but whether that really is enough to challenge the "Big 2", I am not sure.

In other news, I have heard is that all is OK up at the Lake and that the rumours of the chance of a cancelled event seem to have evaporated. I think the next time we will see frontrunners sailing against each other will be on New Years Eve. Then we should see how Landy, who I am now told is definately sailing his DNA, and Brad, who is sailing his Scheurer, stack up against Team Ashby.
Simon,

Thanks again for the updates. When you refer to Glenn's downwind speed, is this just in hull flying conditions or is he just as dominant on the DNA when the conditions are light and everyone has both hulls in the water? Are some or all of you guys trapezing downwind (since DNA's website suggests it's a fast technique)?

The US winter circuit starts on January 10. This is not our national championship and is a more casual event. We do allow competitors to make sail changes and we use these events for fun and an opportunity for sailors to try things. I'll have the "ASG4" ready to sail and Ben Hall will be bringing the latest iteration of the Barracuda. Current North American Champion Matt Struble will be competing on an EVO HT and he will be a great benchmark. We have two outstanding sailors in the US that could be podium finishers at a WC. Lars Guck pushed Glenn hard for the title in 2007 and some felt Lars had a speed edge on Glenn during that event. Lars battled with Matt Struble this past summer for the North American title. Both sailors have their sights on 2012 WC and we hope we can get them to the 2011 WC. In addition, we will have several America's Cup sailors racing with us. Terry Hutchison will be sailing an A3 at the first circuit event and rumor has it that Morgan Larson will also be showing up.

 

WetnWild

Super Anarchist
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Brisvegas
There's no problem with sailing at the lake at the moment. The water level is up about a metre and a half and rigging area is reduced. We are hoping the reduced rain today and forecast fine weather for two days improves that. I've spoken to the PRO this evening and all looks good. Also spoke to someone who sailing in 5-15 knots there today and there was little debris.

All looks set for a monumental battle!

 




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